Chris Sutton has refuted the suggestion that Eddie Howe wouldn’t be able to deal with big personalities in the Celtic dressing room should he end up taking the job.
For all his positives, it has to be admitted that Howe doesn’t have much big club experience and has largely excelled with lesser-known talents in the English lower leagues and Premier League.
Celtic don’t exactly have world-class talent at their disposal either, but there are certainly big personalities in that dressing room – some of whom prioritise their own career over the club.
That was made apparent by manager Neil Lennon after the defeat to Ferencvaros last year.
Sutton though, based on his own personal experience with the former Bournemouth man, reckons he has the type of personality to get players on board.
The former Celtic striker told The Daily Record: “I’ve mentioned before I was on the same coaching course as him in Ireland a few years ago. He was already in charge at Bournemouth at the time and we struck up a decent relationship.
“It’s not like we were going nightclubbing together but he struck me as someone who has a nice manner and a good presence about him.
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“I’ve heard punters claim he struggles to handle a big dressing room. I see no reason to go along with that. He is an introvert in terms of his personality but he is extremely assured. And with regards to that coaching course we were on he commanded respect through his ideas and the way he conducted himself.”
The proof will be in the pudding, and I’m no sports psychology expert of course, but my gut feeling is that these Celtic players will respond better to Howe than an extroverted personality.
The core of this footballing group, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Kristoffer Ajer amongst others, all strike me as professionals who will respond to top-quality coaching, tactical instruction and footballing knowledge rather than ranting and raving.
Sometimes the best way to keep people in line is not through cracking the whip but by setting high standards and communicating them clearly. That’s the way to develop mutual respect between players and coaching staff next season.